NAAS RACECOURSE, Co. Kildare
(Gaelic: Nas Na Riogh. Meaning: The Meeting Place of the Kings)
The first racemeeting took place at Naas in June 1924 when the card was comprised of flat, hurdle, and steeplechase events.
It is entirely fitting that there is a racecourse in Naas, in fact it must have been pre-ordained by some sort of divinity. For Naas is set in the heart of Kildare which is renowned as the ‘Thoroughbred County’ of Ireland. Naas town, in its Gaelic translation, is famously known as the "Meeting Place of the Irish Kings". Well, horses are the real Kings of Ireland (if public devotion is anything to go by) so it's appropriate that they have a place of competition in the heart of their spiritual home. As for the kings who met here in the middle ages: what did they do in Naas when they met? Chances are, they organised a few horseraces as entertainment and a feast afterwards.
They would probably have had some activities to occupy the energies of the children: face painting, funny shows and the like and they would certainly have had some music afterwards. Funny how some things never change and others stay the same because you will get all of the above entertainment at Naas races today. The only thing is the facilities are a lot better and it's much easier to get a cappuccino now, than it was back then! On the BBQ Summer Nights, as well as good food, there is live music after racing. On Bank Holiday Family days there are bouncy castles, clowns, face painting and a host of activities for the whole family to enjoy.
The course is left-handed, undulating and one mile and four furlongs in length with a stiff uphill climb to the winning post. Also a chute for sprint races that joins the straight.
For more details, see www.naasracecourse.com